The formidable question, the forever unsettling dilemma, the never ending war—which one should you pick?
Right or Left?
Why not a combination of both. Why not the middle? Why not change it up from project to project?
Plotting for some can be limited if they don’t remember that straying from the outline is acceptable. For others it can decrease one’s interest in the story. But using outlines and collecting information on a project can also help clarify the chaos. It all depends on the writer and the work they are currently diverged in.
Going the Pantser way can lead to story gaps, discrepancies, but if kept in check it can be a great way to help lift the stress of thinking about the project as a whole. Instead of saying “I have 50,000 words to write,” you can concentrate on writing those 2,500 words or so.
Another down side of going the Pantser way is the loss of ideas. While working on Potion of Love there were many ideas that were discarded and ultimately forgotten. They could have easily been used in the next book.
And this is where I suggest mixing it up. When writing one should jot down those unused ideas that might later turn into a sequel or an altogether new series. If one is lucky enough one might remember them, but why leave it to chance.
Which one am I?
Well, I was 100% Pantser. I never knew what would be jotted down the moment I let pen touch paper. I had no clue on what each scene would consist of, what the characters would say or do, nor in what direction the story would take. I only knew the main character(s) and at times the villain.
I knew what the obstacle(s) were, not in detail, but in a sense. I knew how I wanted the story to end, with the character(s) overthrowing the bad guy or element. How or when? I left that to be pondered upon when the moment came up.
After reading books on outlining and writing, I decided to give Plotters a try. Now I am a little bit of both, though I tend to lean more towards the Pantser’s side. The majority of my outlining and brainstorming is still done in well my ‘brain’, with the occasional one or two line chapter outline reaching the paper.
One could argue that I always was a Plotter without the written proof.
Or maybe not?!
Remember there is no right way to write a book, that is a given, only a right way of mind. If one way doesn’t seem to work change it up. Don’t let others’ examples and routines limit your imagination. Use what works and discard the rest.